Spring is stereotyped as a time of renewal, high energy, and face-splitting smiles. But writers know it’s effective to go against expectations. And so I am happy to present you with cheerful images and dark possibilities to go with them.
Consider that these forsythia are thriving because of the dead body that is fertilizing them. Who? How? When? Why? Now what?
Every spring the parks and canal banks in Ottawa are awash in tulips. This year, a man goes berserk. Describe and explain his behavior.
One lovely day a woman looks at her mailbox and weeps. It was this time last spring when she received . . .
Walking in the woods, your character pauses to admire an early-blooming azalea and notices a hand protruding from the leaf mulch. Is it attached to a body? What does s/he think—and do?
A woman walks past a neighbor’s yard and sees grape hyacinths, bleeding heart, and primroses in bloom. She had all of those at her former house. What happened, what is she feeling and thinking?
A child finds a gun and buries is under the vinca, knowing this to be a perennial runs rampant. Where was the gun? Why did the child bury it? What will happen next?
Your character suffers from extreme arachnophobia. It is so severe that even seeing a spiderwort plant sets off the reaction. Where did the fear of spiders come from? What happens when the phobia is triggered?
The last tulip magnolia bloom is about to go. What does that mean to your character?
Your character stops to admire a dogwood and notices the crows gathered nearby. Looking down, s/he sees . . .
A barefoot toddler dashes into a patch of lamium. Within seconds, toes have been replaced by pink blooms. Soon. . .
These young poppy leaves are growing in the vegetable garden. How did they come to be there? What will happen to them? Suppose they are mixed into a salad of field greens. Then what?
Takeaway for writers: nothing is too pretty, cheerful, or innocent to hide a dark side.